Monday, November 21, 2011

Hello Kitties!

"As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat."
(Ellen Perry Berkeley)

This post is for all the cat lovers, cat haters and everyone who wants to know a little more about our feline friends.

Felis catus or felis domesticus, is what domestic cats are known scientifically. To most of us, they are simply 'cats' or 'kitties'. Today, they are arguably the most popular pet in the world. (Dog lovers, chill!)

"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods.
Cats have never forgotten this.
) [Pic]

Cats and history

Cats have been featured in human lives for thousands of years. Their history as human pets can be traced as far back as the Ancient Egyptian era. The word for cat in Ancient Egypt was "mau". This sounds similar to the universally known word of "meow".

Cats 'meow' internationally. [Pic]

Cats in various languages

Besides "meow", cat is interestingly known by very similar names around the world. It is "gatto" in Italian and "gato" in Portuguese. The Vietnamese say "meo" and the Chinese say "mao"(猫). In Dutch, different names are given for male cats (kat) and female cats (poes). (See 'cat' in other languages)

Cats can be taboo. [Pic]

Cats as symbols

In many cultures and folklores, black cats are seen as a symbol of evil omens. This is the main reason why black cats have a lower chance of being adopted from shelters. In Thailand, the Korat cat is seen as a symbol of good luck. In Japan, the Maneki Neko is believed to bring 'fortune'.

Cats can be scary. [Pic]

Cats as a phobia

Ailurophobia is a form of persistent, irrational fear of cats. Similar terms include felinophobia, elurophobia and gatophobia. Just like other forms of phobia, it is likely to be developed by earlier bad experiences.

Cats can be funny. [Source]

Kats R Funny

Apart from their usual regal and aloof image, cats are often being picked as elements of humor. You can find lots of cat jokes in the Internet. "I Can Has Cheezburger?" weblog featuring lolcats is probably one of the most visited feline sites.

Puss in Boots: Endless cat wits.

Cats as fictional characters

The recently released 'Puss in Boots (3D)' movie (watch trailer) has received largely positive reviews. The combo of feline and wits is just purrfect. 

That is but just one. There are countless other popular fictional characters featuring cats: Figaro in Pinocchio, Dinah in 'Alice in Wonderland', Garfield in 'Garfield the Movie', Lucifer in 'Cinderella', Doraemon from the Japanese animation, Hello Kitty from Japan, Tom in 'Tom and Jerry' and Aristocats, the Disney movie are just some examples.

Oreo: Our house pet [Pic]

Cats as pets

A pet is for life and it is the same with having a pet cat. There are pros and cons and it is important that you do not introduce one into your life on impulse. Where possible, adopt. (See "A Pet is for Life")

Maru: A famous Internet Star [Source]

Cats as Internet Stars

Maru is a male Scottish Fold in Japan. His videos on YouTube have received millions of hits. He is known to love boxes and here is one of his videos. Check out others. You will love them.

Nora is a gray tabby cat adopted from the shelter in New Jersey. She has become famous for 'playing the piano'. Watch her play on the keyboard in this video.

In Singapore, Duke is a cat loved by many fans here and abroad. He was once a stray but now lives in an office. He has been a voice for other strays and has helped raise funds and awareness. Duke is taken care of by 'Minion' and his fans are known as 'dukakis'. (Read news and blog)

Cat quiz

Finally, give yourself a simple test and find out how much you know about cats. (I barely pass).

"People that don't like cats haven't met the right one yet." (Deborah A. Edwards, D.V.M.)

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Don't be a People Pleaser

People-pleasers want to make others happy at all costs.
Don't be one.

Do you find yourself agreeing to things you really do not want to do? Do you have difficulties saying 'No' to others? Do you feel uncomfortable about what others do or say to you but choose to say nothing?

Your answers to the above questions give you a quick idea if you are having issues with personal boundaries. A simple test can tell you more.

Healthy personal boundaries lead to
healthy personal relationship

What are Personal Boundaries?

Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we set to protect ourselves from being manipulated or violated by others.

These limits, once communicated, serve as guidance on how others may act or speak in your presence.

What they are not?

Setting personal boundary may be mistaken as a negative behavior. It is seen as going against values such as selflessness and personal sacrifice.

Get those ideas out of your head!

On the contrary, it is a responsible act to have healthy personal boundaries. It is necessary as a prerequisite for harmonious and sustainable people relationship.

If you don't say, they don't know. [Pic]

Why are Personal Boundaries important?

Setting clear personal boundaries helps to establish healthy mutual respect and maintain good relationship. It is a win-win approach.

A healthy set of personal boundary boost self-esteem and happiness. It also helps us take greater control of our lives as we move on to meet the endless stream of life changes.

How to set Personal Boundaries?

4. Know your rights

Before anything else, you must believe that it is your right to set personal boundaries. Be honest with yourself on how you feel and what you think. Always have your own opinion while remaining humble and respectful towards alternative views.

You do not owe others more favor than others owe you.

Enforce your boundary. Say 'No'. [Pic]

3. Learn to say 'No'

If you are a people-pleaser, you may find yourself constantly agreeing to requests and advances. If you habitually accommodate others, you find your own happiness index dipping.

I am not promoting a selfish behavior. Rather, you need to remember that if you do not take care of your own needs, you won't be well enough to serve those who deserve your time.

We all know this too well: A frustrated mom is far less than a great mom.

Learn to say 'No' without fear, guilt and anger.

2. Know that you are important

You need to constantly remind yourself that your own feelings and needs are at no time less important. This reminder is especially relevant to women who behold traditional values of self-sacrifice.

Respect yourself and develop a strong sense of identity. Do believe in shared responsibility and reciprocity in any relationship.

You have to say where your boundary is. [Pic]

1. Learn to communicate your boundary

If someone crosses the line and makes you uncomfortable, you need to let him know. Keeping silence will send the signal that it is not inappropriate to behave in that manner.

There is no need to defend or argue. Simply communicate directly and gracefully while staying firm and assertive. Repeat yourself when faced with resistance or persistence.

Remember, once you give in, you are encouraging others to ignore your needs.

You OK, they OK

You are unique and have your own ideals. Take personal responsibility for who you are and be in charge of your own life.

When you are well and good, you are ready to serve, with personal boundaries intact, of course.

Don't play victim. You are not one.

"The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others." (Sonya Friedman)

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Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Meet People, Anytime and Anywhere

How to meet people:
One of the most important skills you ever need.

When we were little, adults would caution us not to talk to strangers. Are you still lugging that baggage and have problems meeting people?

We grew up carrying with us a certain level of apprehension towards approaching a total stranger or people we know little about. Some of us moved on and learn to meet new people but others need some help.

The skill of knowing how to meet people can impact the quality of your social life and the bottom-line of your business. It is not effortless and neither is it beyond reach. With some practice, you can meet people anytime and anywhere.

Here are some ways to meet people. Give them a try and find out what works for you: 

Make the first move proactively. [Pic]

12 Have a proactive attitude

This is one of the key success ingredients in meeting people. You are responsible for your own social life and you would need to work on it. From now on, take note of your meeting encounters and check who usually makes the first move.

11 Build up self-confidence

Self-confidence is the result of self-perception. They way you interpret information received from feedback and body language will affect the level of your self confidence.

10 Handle the fear of rejection

The fear of rejection is worse than the rejection itself. It is usually a show-stopper. Before you make your first move, remind yourself that you have nothing to lose. So what if there is no reciprocity for your initial 'Hi"? Take some risk and don't anticipate rejection.

Small talks need not be superficial and boring. [Pic]

9 Learn to make small talks

Some say small talks are superficial and boring. I prefer to describe them as light and harmless. Before you can plunge deeper into any relationship, you ought to begin from the shallow end. When making small talks, give everyone an equal chance to say something.

8 Get ready something to offer

This is a good leverage to approach other people. If you are good at something, you can offer some advice. If you bake, you can offer a little treat. Caution: I said 'offer', not 'impose'.

7 Prepare self introduction

It may seem easy talking about yourself but some preparation is recommended. Some of us tend to talk too much about self and others prefer to preserve total privacy. Be mentally prepared on what you want to say about yourself. You need not disclose everything but stay truthful in what you say.

Be prepared to offer something. [Pic]

6 Be a good conversationalist

Prolonged silence can be creepily awkward. A good conversationalist keeps things flowing and yet avoids being too domineering.

5 Respect boundaries

We are talking about initial meetings with people who are total strangers or with little familiarity. You ought to observe some social norms and stick to the acceptable boundaries. For example, extended eye contact, excessive physical closeness and imposing personal questions are big no-no's.

4 Be interested

Have some curiosity and find out more about the people you meet. It is a thin line between being interested in a person and being intrusive. If you do not practice, you can't get better at gauging it.

You need not be a Mr. Know-It-All.
Some sensing of what is going on helps.

3 Be informed

It can be embarrassing not knowing what is being said most of the time, especially when you are the only odd ball around. Do keep abreast of current affairs and issues that affect us.

2 Be receptive

Others may hold a different view, which may seem radical to you. While you need not agree to that, there is no justification to start an argument, however mild it might seem. If it gets too uncomfortable, you can always switch to other conversation topics.

1 Learn to read body language

The problem with body language reading is not the lack of expertise. Sometimes, we may be too self-absorbed that we fail to observe what others are telling us through body language. Do pay attention and take the cue to respond appropriately.

You can meet people anytime, anywhere. [Pic]

Where to meet people?


Classes, social events, public places, workplace, interest groups and volunteer works are just some avenues. I am talking about meeting real people, not those over the Internet. So, you would need to get out of your seat and start walking towards someone.

If you plan to read up more, try these:

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." (Dorothy Nevill)

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